Government at a Glance 2011

image of Government at a Glance 2011

This second edition of Government at a Glance more than doubles the number of available indicators of OECD governments’ performance. The indicators compare the political and institutional frameworks of government across OECD countries as well as government revenues and expenditures, employment, and compensation. They also include indicators describing government policies and practices on integrity, e-government and open government, and introduce several composite indexes summarising key aspects of public management practices in human resources management, budgeting, procurement, and regulatory management. For each figure, the book provides a dynamic link (StatLink) which direct the user to a web page where corresponding data are available in Excel® format. The report also offers two special chapters, on leveraged governance and on the policy implications of fiscal consolidation.

The 58 data sets of member and partner countries in this 2011 edition of Government at a Glance include the first ever international comparison of public sector pay for selected professions and public service occupations, which points to a fairly egalitarian pay structure in the public sector;  estimations of country-specific fiscal consolidation requirements, which have been found to be large in many countries; the level of disclosure of private interests in the three branches of government; and  the implementation gap of Open Government policies to promote transparency, efficiency and trust.

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General government debt

Government debt represents governments’ outstanding liabilities stemming from the need to finance deficits through borrowing. Although deficits increased in many countries since 2000, between 2000 and 2007 debt levels as a share of GDP in many countries dropped due to economic growth. However, the recent economic crisis has reversed this trend. Debt levels have sharply increased due to low GDP growth and large deficits resulting from lower revenue collections (due to tax reductions designed to stimulate the economy and/or declines in economic activity) and increased spending on stimulus measures, social transfers or support for financial institutions. As a result, the average OECD member country’s public debt rose from 57% of GDP in 2007 to 74% in 2010.

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